If you’re interested in knowing and understanding a little more about the MACA Act, we’ve included below an overview of the MACA Act and how it may impact on the general public.
This has kindly been provided by Rachel Devine, Partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts (and a member of the OBC!) … thanks Rachel.
There’s also additional information provided by MinterEllisonRuddWatts (click here).
Additionally, the Ministry of Justice website provides useful information (click here).
In summary, the MACA Act provides a mechanism for local iwi, hapū or whanau to apply for orders that recognise their relationship with a part of the common marine and coastal area (i.e. foreshore and seabed). There are two types of orders: Customary Marine Title (CMT); and Protected Customary Rights (PCRs), which provide different levels of rights under the MACA Act. Regardless of any order granted to a group, continued public access to the common marine and coastal area is guaranteed by the MACA Act. However, resource consent in the common marine and coastal area may become difficult to obtain.
Claims under the MACA Act
Iwi, hapū or whānau groups can get recognition orders for two types of customary interest under the MACA Act – CMT and PCRs:
- CMT is the strongest form of order available, but is the hardest to obtain:
- (i) The key right provided to an applicant group with a CMT is the right to say yes or no to activities that need resource consents or permits in the area in which they have CMT. However, this right does not apply to “accommodated activities”, which includes infrastructure that is essential to the social or economic well-being of the region.
- (ii) Free public access, fishing and other recreational activities are allowed to continue in CMT areas.
- (iii) To be granted a CMT, the group must prove that it holds the specified area in accordance with tikanga (customs and traditional values) and has exclusively used and occupied the specified area, without substantial interruption from 1840 to the present day. This is a very high threshold.
- PCRs provide rights to undertake an activity in a specified area and is easier to obtain:
- (i) PCRs can be granted for a customary activity like collecting hāngi stones or launching waka in the common marine and coastal area and provides an applicant group the right to undertake this activity without the need to obtain resource consent.
- (ii) To be granted PCRs, the group must prove that it has exercised the activity in accordance with Tikanga since 1840.
Impact of the MACA Act on the general public with an interest in the marine and coastal area
No protected customary rights determinations have been made under the MACA Act so far. In the meantime, any resource consents sought in relation to the common marine and coastal area must be notified to any group that has applied for recognition of CMT or PCRs to obtain their views on the proposal. However, the decision-maker is not bound to follow the views of an applicant group when deciding to grant or decline the resource consent.
If a CMT or PCR is granted, this will not affect the public’s general right to access and enjoy the common marine and coastal area. However, any applications for resource consent relating to an area subject to a CMT may be difficult to obtain.